I was very blessed to have grown up in a Christian home. My dad is a pastor, so naturally I loved reading bible stories and knew all of the Sunday School answers. However, I only understood Gospel partly – meaning that I knew that Jesus is God, that he died on the cross for my sin and if I believe in Him that I would get to heaven. Although I believed Jesus, I didn’t understand what Jesus being Lord meant in my life.
So from childhood, I lived my own life according to whatever made me happy. My recipe for happiness was being confident, having stable relationships and being good at what I’m doing. I found my self-confidence in my academic achievements and friendships growing up. In primary school I often tried to entertain my friends and gave them presents so they could keep liking me. I had a comfortable childhood until highschool came around.
When I started high school, I found it hard to cope with the new environment since I didn’t know anybody. I developed a low-self esteem and I was very quiet. This led to frequent bullying from other kids, which only worsened overtime. I was self-conscious of what people thought of me and I didn’t approach people because I felt like I had nothing to contribute. So I poured my efforts into studying and developing my skills as an artist. I eventually built close friendships, until these negative feelings went away over time. When university started, I was eager to have a fresh start and not to be the ‘loser’ I used to be. I even looked into fashion and make up so I could ‘glow up’ and be accepted.
At this time, I was working hard academically and socially to be loved and accepted by people. This was how I thought I would find security in this life. This all changed when I started to go to the Evangelical Union at Sydney University.
Even though I chased all of these things from childhood, I still believed I was a Christian since I held onto knowing that I just needed to trust Jesus to be saved. My brother John encouraged me to join the Evangelical Union so I did and I attended my first AnCon in 2016, when I was 19 years old. It was the first time I felt I was different from these people attending. During worship, they were praising God with their whole heart while I felt apathetic. It was the first time I questioned my Christian identity, I felt there was something missing.
The next big event that made me question my faith was my dad finishing his ministry the next year. I used to regularly attend church with my family, but now I didn’t have to go to church. From then, I questioned my own motivations for going church and started church hopping to avoid feeling guilty for not going. I questioned whether Christianity was a true and logical religion, so I began researching other religions. It began to puzzle me that people believed that Christianity was the absolute truth. Like how do you know it’s really true?
From 2018, I asked John to bring me to Gracepoint out of convenience since John would be my Uber. I was interested in the kind of community John was in because I noticed his passion for Christianity. I still attended Gracepoint though sometimes I would flake church due to my priorities at the time.
It wasn’t until Easter Sunday in 2018 when I heard the sermon that opened my eyes to the truth for the first time. It was the first time hearing why it was so important that Jesus was raised from the dead, why He is Lord and what that meant for me. Growing up, I always knew that Jesus raised from the dead. I thought it was a no brainer since He is God so He is able to do whatever He wants right? But it’s so much more than that! Jesus rising from the dead means He overcame death. When Pastor Eugene said “that discovering your purpose and meaning of life is useless when death is the end”. I thought “Wow, everything I’m pursuing will be meaningless when I die“. But Jesus overcame death. Because of Jesus, my life can have meaning if I have eternal life with him. This changed everything.
I was living a life chasing happiness on my own terms. Jesus being Lord means that He is my King of my life. It means my thoughts, actions and my relationship with him matters. Christianity was no longer just a ticket to heaven, living however I wanted. Jesus being Lord meant that I needed to follow Him with my whole life. That’s when I realised that I wasn’t a Christian and I lived against God’s good design for me. This was when I understood the meaning of being a ‘sinner’. I didn’t acknowledge Jesus as my Saviour and King, and my wrongs which hurt others also hurt God. It made me realise that me being a sinner was a part of the problem of this broken world. Knowing that Jesus was raised from the dead and having the power to judge me for my deeds, I knew it was just for God my creator to be angry with me to receive his punishment.
However, God showed me grace through the work of Jesus Christ. 1 John 4:9-10 states “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins“. Jesus lived the perfect life that I should have lived and He died in my place to pay for my sin on the cross.
Learning this truth of the gospel not only made me believe that Jesus is my Saviour, but believe that He is my Lord. He is the King of Kings, yet He has the biggest heart of all. Knowing Jesus has loved me by his life and death for me made me want to live for him.
God was so generous that He not only saved me from sin, He saved me into his own family. In Romans 8:15-17 it says “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory”
I am so blessed that I’m able to witness God’s love through my brothers and sisters at GracePoint church and having this hope that we will all be together worshipping God for all eternity. Jesus didn’t just want me to get a free ticket in heaven, He wanted me to enjoy a relationship with Him here and now and enjoy living with Him with his family in His heavenly home forever. This is how the grace of God changed my life and how I see the world
Since I have found my identity in Christ, I’m eternally loved by the creator of the universe as His own child. I don’t have to chase study, career, friendships or change the way I look in order to feel worthy and secure anymore. God showed me that I’m more than my exam marks, my job, my relationship status, my abilities or how I looked.
Christ also changed my view on relationships as I know that Christ has loved me, I’m able to love others without expecting others to love me back. It allowed me to open myself up without fear of what others thought of me, it helped me show interest in others and build relationships that I have never imagined myself doing 10 years ago. I have learnt that true humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
Instead of my career being a means for security and self-worth, it became a place for me to serve God and the people around me. The pressure and burden of performing was gone as I know that God is King over my day. So whether I performed well or not was something that God wanted to teach me on that day. I also have learnt that I can no longer boast in myself since everything I have comes from God. All of my abilities are gifts from God, which I’m called to responsibly use for others.
I’m honoured that God gave me a purpose to be part of His glorious plan, to work to expand His Kingdom – His place, His people and rule. Receiving God’s grace was the best thing that ever happened in my life, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Knowing how God worked through centuries making and keeping his promises to His own people, saving us as a community from sin and walking together with us in a new life towards eternity with him – the place where there will no more tears of sorrow but only joy. I have never experienced such a love as this, I hope you have or will experience God’s grace and love as I have.
I’m going to end my testimony with one of my favourite verses in Romans 8:38-39 because it always fills me with hope, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”